Inspired by a Saigonese lunch lady, this Vietnamese Grilled Lemongrass Pork Chops (Sườn Nướng) recipe brings back memories of delightful Cơm Tấm breakfasts from her food stall.

The secret tip I picked up from this amazing lunch lady will guide you to whip up the most flavorful, authentic lemongrass pork chops, just like those in Saigon 😉.

A mouthwatering plate of Com Suon Nuong, also known as Vietnamese Lemongrass Pork Chops. The grilled pork chops are beautifully charred, tender, and full of aromatic lemongrass flavors. Served with steamed rice, this traditional Vietnamese dish is a true delight for the senses.

If you’re in a rush, feel free to skip ahead to the recipe card at the end for precise measurements 😊.

Best Cuts For “Sườn Nướng”?

In Vietnam, “Sườn Nướng” doesn’t only refer to grilled pork chops; it can also be spare ribs or even pork shoulder.

  • Feel free to substitute pork chops with spare ribs or pork shoulder in this recipe.
  • Choose pork chops with some fatty parts and ensure they are not too thick (around 1 cm or 0.4 inches).

If pork chops are your favorite, you could try the recipes for Char Siu Pork Chops or Toyomansi Pork Chops.

Preparing The Pork Chops

A tip I learnt from the lunch lady in Saigon is snipping the edges of the pork chops. Make about 3-5 cuts per chop, 1 inch (2.5cm) deep each. It helps the pork chops remain flat while grilling or pan-frying.

Besides, don’t forget to pound the pork chops. This step helps the chops absorb the marinade more effectively and results in a tenderer texture when cooked.

Instructions for Com Suon Nuong - Vietnamese Lemongrass Pork Chops

Secret ingredients for the marinade

MARINADE:

Ingredients for Com Suon Nuong - Vietnamese Lemongrass Pork Chops

In Vietnam or Thailand, local people often use certain ingredients to tenderize meat for grilling. These might be milk, coconut milk, honey, palm sugar, and brown sugar.

  • In Thailand, people often choose evaporated milk, coconut milk, and palm sugar.
  • In Vietnam, we love using full-cream milk, condensed milk, honey or brown sugar.

Feel free to get creative with the ingredients; for my recipe, I go for full-cream milk and honey, which are always available in my kitchen.

the best Vietnamese lemongrass pork chops

FLAVORS:

If you love the flavor of lemongrass, you could also try:

  • Vietnamese 5-spice: this spice goes a little but a long way. Too much 5-spice could overpower the lemongrass flavor.
Vietnamese five spice powder

The fragrance of Vietnamese 5-spice is milder than that of Chinese 5-spice. It’s also a popular ingredient in Vietnamese cuisine like in Gà Roti (Vietnamese Rotisserie Chicken).

VIBRANT COLOR:

  • Annatto oil: optional, but it helps create the alluring, vibrant color for the pork chops. You could skip this ingredient if you use the Sate sauce (Vietnamese lemongrass chili oil) or replace it with some paprika powder and cooking oil.

Instructions

  • Prepare the pork chops by snipping the edges and pounding them gently to tenderize.
  • In a bowl, combine all the marinade ingredients and mix well to create a flavorful sauce.
  • Place the pork chops in a bowl or sealable bag and pour the marinade over them. Ensure the chops are well coated. Let them marinate for at least 3 hours or overnight for the best flavor.
Instructions for Com Suon Nuong - Vietnamese Lemongrass Pork Chops
  • Prior to cooking, allow the pork chops to rest at room temperature for about 20 minutes. This helps them cook more evenly.
  • Cook the pork chops using your preferred method (one of the four ways mentioned below).

Four Ways To Cook

Before cooking, let the pork chops rest at room temperature for 20 minutes.

  1. PAN FRYING (the most convenient option for a small kitchen)
  • Heat a pan over medium-low heat. Pan-fry each side of the pork chop for about 3-4 minutes, adjusting the cooking time according to the thickness of the chops (approximately 0.4 inches or 1 cm).
Instructions for Com Suon Nuong - Vietnamese Lemongrass Pork Chops
  1. GRILLING (the traditional method, yielding the best results).

The authentic street food vibe in Vietnam wouldn’t be complete without the alluring, mouthwatering fragrance wafting from char grills on the streets.

Vietnamese streetfood
  • Heat your grill to medium-high heat. Place the pork chops on the grill and cook them for 5-6 minutes on each side. Cooking time can vary based on the thickness of your chops.
  1. OVEN-BAKING (for making a large batch)
  • Preheat the oven to 390°F (200°C).
  • After 20 minutes, place the marinated pork chops on a grill rack with the drip tray underneath. Cook the pork in oven for 7 minutes, then flip and cook for other 7 minutes.
  1. AIR FRYING (another convenient option)
  • Preheat the air fryer to 350°F (180°C). Place the marinated pork chops in the air fryer basket and air fry them for 10 minutes.
  • Then, flip the pork chops, increase the temperature to 390°F (200°C), and cook the pork for an additional 5-7 minutes.

Explore other tasty Asian recipes with air fryer.

How to serve

Lemongrass pork chops are a key component of a Cơm Tấm platter. In addition to the pork chops, a full plate of Cơm Tấm typically includes:

  • Mỡ Hành (scallion oil)
  • Đồ Chua (pickled carrot & daikon). In Saigon, locals often serve with pickled water spinach (rau muống)
  • Nước Chấm (sweet & tangy fish sauce)
  • Chả Trứng Hấp (steamed egg meatloaf)
  • (shredded pork skin with ground roasted rice)
  • Trứng ốp la (fried egg)
A mouthwatering plate of Com Suon Nuong, also known as Vietnamese Lemongrass Pork Chops. The grilled pork chops are beautifully charred, tender, and full of aromatic lemongrass flavors. Served with steamed rice, this traditional Vietnamese dish is a true delight for the senses.

You could make a simplified version with just the pork chop, scallion oil, pickled vegetables, and dipping fish sauce. This is called “Cơm Sườn” or “Cơm Sườn Nướng”.

For the steamed rice, the best choice is broken rice (“gạo tấm” in Vietnamese), but steamed jasmine rice works fine too. To save time, you could try my quick and easy microwave jasmine rice.

Other Asian BBQ recipes

  • Bún Chả (Northern rice noodles with grilled pork): the authentic recipe I learned from my Hanoi auntie.
  • Lemongrass Chicken: perfect for those who prefer chicken over pork.
    • It can be served as a filling for Banh Mi sandwiches, with rice noodles to make Bún Gà Nướng (lemongrass chicken vermicelli bowl), or with steamed rice (Cơm Gà Nướng).
a bowl of Bun Cha Ha Noi
Bún Chả Hà Nội
Vietnamese Lemongrass Chicken Noodle Bowl
Lemongrass Chicken
Vietnamese roast chicken
Vietnamese Five Spice Roasted Chicken
Delicious Thai / Lao BBQ Chicken with a tantalizing blend of flavors and aromatic herbs.
Gai Yang

Thanks a bunch for giving my recipe a shot! If you enjoyed it, I’d truly appreciate a 5-star rating or a comment to let me know your thoughts.

And don’t forget to stay in touch with me on InstagramFacebookPinterest, and YouTube 🥰.

A mouthwatering plate of Com Suon Nuong, also known as Vietnamese Lemongrass Pork Chops. The grilled pork chops are beautifully charred, tender, and full of aromatic lemongrass flavors. Served with steamed rice, this traditional Vietnamese dish is a true delight for the senses.

Best Vietnamese Lemongrass Pork Chops (Sườn Nướng)

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Vietnamese Grilled Lemongrass Pork Chops (Sườn Nướng) are the heart and soul of the popular Vietnamese dish Cơm Tấm (Broken Rice plate). With many tips I learned from a lunch lady who has been cooking and selling cơm tấm for 30 years in Saigon, you can easily whip up this recipe and enjoy the truly authentic flavor at home.
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 3 hours
Cook Time 15 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Vietnamese
Servings 2 people

Equipment

  • 1 mixing bowl
  • 1 frying pan
  • 1 Knife

Ingredients
  

Marinade sauce:

  • 0.8 lb pork chops (350g)
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp Vietnamese Sate Sauce (or 1 tbsp finely minced lemongrass + 2 tbsp annatto oil)
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp Vietnamese five-spice powder
  • 4 tbsp full-cream milk

Instructions
 

  • Start by preparing the pork chops. Snip the edges and gently pound them to tenderize.
  • In a bowl, combine all the marinade ingredients.
  • Place the pork chops in a bowl or sealable bag and pour the marinade over them, making sure they are evenly coated. Let them marinate for at least 3 hours or overnight for the best flavor.
  • Before cooking, let the pork chops rest at room temperature for about 20 minutes.
  • Heat a pan over medium-high heat and add the pork chops. Pan-fry them for approximately 3-4 minutes on each side, adjusting the cooking time based on the thickness of the chops (around 0.4 inch or 1 cm).
    Or you can also cook the pork chops using a charcoal grill, air fryer, or oven (refer to the method section in my post).
  • Once the pork chops are cooked to your desired doneness, remove them from the pan and let them rest for a few minutes before serving with steamed rice.
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